A growing passion
For the first time in a life lived in and out of prison, Joseph Hura says all he wants when he gets up each day is to work — and to stop young men taking the path he followed.
Hura, who was released from jail five weeks ago after serving a 10-year sentence, is one of 20 Mid North men taking part in a “learn while you earn” ma¯ nuka planting programme.
They will work towards level two forestry qualifications while turning an iwi’s under-used land into an asset producing ma¯ nuka honey and oil plus carbon credits, while returning the land to native vegetation.
Hura, 42, said he did a short forestry course before his release.
“I learnt how to use a chainsaw and I really liked cutting the logs up and that power underneath my hands. So when I got released I asked if there was a job in Kaikohe for me, preferably to do with forestry.”
However, Hura said his real passion was to work with rangatahi (youth) and share his experience of pulling out of gangs and “staying off the crack”.
Nga¯ Ma¯ huri o Nga¯ ti Hine (the saplings of Nga¯ ti Hine) is a two-year programme to plant 200ha of Nga¯ ti Hine Forestry Trust land in ma¯ nuka. A second course, starting in 2020, will see another 20 trainees hired and the total plantings brought up to almost 500ha.
The trainees are a mix of school leavers and older men who have struggled to find work or direction.
Nga¯ Ma¯ huri o Nga¯ ti Hine was launched at Otiria Marae in Moerewa last Monday.